Embroidery => General Embroidery => Topic started by: ohioguy on June 04, 2019, 03:45:59 PM

Title: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: ohioguy on June 04, 2019, 03:45:59 PM
Hello all,

I have been stuck on this issue for a couple of weeks now, have been in contact with numerous sales representatives of ZSK, the sole distributor of Tajima, and the sole distributor of Barudan.

So I am starting an embroidery business, looking for one quality head, with 15+ needles. As I am new to this, and it seems like people say service and location is key, I have put a lot of attention to seeing how quick techs can get out to me and how much it will cost me as paying for their travel/accommodations seems to be the industry standard. I can imagine the livid anxiety having orders to be done or to be due while having a malfunctioning machine and waiting on a tech.

Anyways, I had probably 12 brands to look into when I began the search, which after many hours of research narrowed down to just these three; ZSK, Barudan, and Tajima.

ZSK: Sprint 7

Very interested in the machine, German built, seems to utilize mostly metal construction, great control panel, 18 needles and not 15, 6 year warranty. The list of benefits go on and on but their technician network scares me a bit. Their YouTube channel has great instructional videos and I am a capable person with repairs and machinery but what if it is something that I tech needs to do?

ZSK USA: Quoted me $20k for the machine delivered, installed, and access to their online training as well as in-person sessions, albeit in St. Louis. Also a year of their IDS software, which I do not want as I intend to go with Wilcom. I have heard I could ask for this substitution but I somewhat drifted away when I got a quote from a distributor which has a local branch in the greater Cincinnati area.

ZSK Distributor: Offered a very, very lightly used machine for $15.9k (I believe the Sprint 7 has been out for a very short amount of time, was used at an open house and trade show) + shipping and anything else that I'd want/need. Or can order a new for $17.6k. Both will come with the 6 year warranty. Their embroidery person offered to spend a couple days at my location teaching/training me when she is in town at their Cincinnati branch, free of charge. They will attempt to bundle Wilcom (unsure which level yet) with the machine after they reach out to Wilcom (they are a distributor).

Barudan: BEXT-S1501CBIII

Barudan USA: The brand that everyone everywhere seems to piss themselves when talking about how great it is. Literally, haven't seen a single complaint. About their Cleveland office, yes, but none about the machine or it's quality. Because of this, I like it more than the Tajima and at the farthest their tech would be coming from Cleveland and not Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, or New Hampshire as with ZSK. But it has 15 needles and I am not a fan of the control panel when compared to the other two. The machine alone was $15.5k, the machine with a startup package (with Wilcom, albeit not the highest) and a large set of thread, needles, and other consumables was $18.6k. Not too bad, I just hope Barudan doesn't release a 18 needle in the next couple of months and/or year and I feel like I have the last generation of equipment. From all sources still made in Japan, albeit possibly using outsourced Chinese parts.

Tajima: TMBR-SC1501 or TMBR-SC1801

HSI: $20k for 1501, $22k for 1801 shipped, installed with training (online and in-person) and Pulse Creator (still think I'd like Wilcom, but they don't carry it, although strictly for Tajima Pulse seems to be more functional). That is a "special" price for the 1801 because they are currently out of 1501s. Sure ;). They have a branch in Cincinnati, and service/techs would be literally 20 minutes away. Also have heard people have some qualms/reservations with HSI. Maybe valid but a company of this size (also the case with Barudan) will always have criticisms and critics. But I have read that Barudan does better smaller/finer lettering and that either they are now made in China or are using a large portion of Chinese-made components.

Anyways, this is where I am currently at. I think if Barudan made a 18 needle, there would be no contest. But it seems like 18 is the new/next frontier and they will also have to release a 18 sooner or later. The slightly used ZSK seems like a decent deal as it is a more expensive machine to begin with than the other two. Honestly, Tajima seems to have everything I want (18 needle, close service) but I feel like people believe ZSK and Barudan are "better" machines. I have hinted at haggling by suggesting whether paying upfront would get me a better deal, no dealer has really seemed to reciprocate any enthusiasm. Do people even haggle with these huge corporations/distributors? Maybe once they have a relationship or track record of some sort? So I am unsure of whether I should finance or buy outright. Please correct me if I am wrong and I look forward to your criticism, so do not hold back.

Thank you for your time!
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: inkman996 on June 04, 2019, 04:28:17 PM
I can't comment on the ZSK nor the Tajima but here all we have ever bought has been Barudan, and as you have heard there is no complaints. I have seen the other machines at trade shows and with that little experience I can see the difference between Barudan and the others. Hat quality and small lettering always looks to be better by Barudan. We have a latest generation 8 head from Barudan with the newest control panel and I also was a little wary of it till I really took some time and dug into it, and now I absolutely love it and do not miss the previous generation version. The installer was absolutely awesome, we did not need any on machine training because we already own barudans so he spent hours with me showing all the tips and tricks hidden in the control panel software, many time saving things.

AS for Wilcom honestly their lowest level is actually pretty damn good and more than likely more than you would need, the higher levels just offer fluff but the fundamentals are all in basic wilcom.

I could be wrong on this but I remember a conversation about thread color amounts on multi head machines and that it actually has draw backs which is why 15 color is pretty standard. I think it something to do with excessive drag on the color changing system, the more colors on multi heads tends to add up.
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: Pangea on June 04, 2019, 06:27:44 PM
I just picked up a used 2005 Barudan (BEDT 15 needle) from the original owner and so far it's been amazing. I can't speak for the newer models but I will say the older models have a somewhat confusing control panel that did take some getting used to.

If you don't have any embroidery experience I would suggest either buying new and taking the training or pick up an inexpensive home machine that you aren't worried about getting trashed. We went from a Brother PE-770 to a Babylock BMP6 to the Barudan BEDT in about 2-3 years on top of screen printing, sublimation and vinyl cutting. Not sure exactly how you're structuring everything, just a suggestion.
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: RICK STEFANICK on June 04, 2019, 06:48:16 PM
I know the Tajima TMAR is a great machine with the adjustable pressure foot for sewing caps and 3D. I have also never had anyone complain about the Pulse software. I know they have improved it with the 17
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: ohioguy on June 04, 2019, 07:48:10 PM
Thanks for the responses so far. Could someone comment on where Tajima is manufactured? It's hard for me to believe that a $20k machine can say "Made in China."

The support for Barudan is overwhelming, as I anticipated.
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: BP on June 05, 2019, 06:43:18 AM
Made in China
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: GraphicDisorder on June 05, 2019, 07:17:40 AM
ZSK shouldn't be considered IMO.

There are only 2 options in embroidery IMO. Barudan or Tajima. Either will be fantastic for you. Barudan wins for me. We've got 3 of the 6 head machines and they have been work horses for us. Other than yearly tune up and one frozen baring ($30 part?) and 10 minute fix, we have had zero issues, in fact zero down time in over 5 years using them.

I wouldn't buy a single head though of any flavor. But that is a entirely other debate.
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: Zelko-4-EVA on June 05, 2019, 07:46:27 AM
we have three ZSK (total of 13 heads) and one 8 head stretch tajima. 

our ZSK are older models - late 98s to 2002 i think.   solid machines, they work great.  we are in NH so the main tech was only hours away. never had a serious problem we werent able to fix over the phone.

recently we bought a used Tajima 1508 TFMX stretch.  from what i heard the stretch models are japanese made and the regular ones are chinese.  this wasnt what made me decide a stretch over a standard size, the stretch was available when we were looking for a used machine.


we had an independent tech come in yesterday to work on the ZSK and at the same time the Tajima broke a beveled gear.  he was able to repair the Tajima and give the ZSK a good tune up.  i asked him which he likes for machines and he said Barudan.  hes was an operator on Tajima when they were all mechanical, single head, single needle. his tools were made in East Germany, and hes been a tech for over 20 years.  he said the Barudan sews better, and is more user friendly than others.   
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: mk162 on June 05, 2019, 09:10:39 AM
I am sort of in the same camp as Brandt here...don't make your only machine a single.  You can't bill enough on it to make enough money.  We bought one to take the overflow off the 6 head.  It works great for that.  We can leave the hat driver up for the small runs of hats we do or we can run them as 7 heads.

Seriously sit down and look at the monthly payment, the output and the hourly cost of running the machine and see if you think you'd be able to earn enough on it to make it work. A 4 head machine is about twice the cost but 4x the output...do the math.

That being said, all three choices are good.  I prefer Barudan since we had the most amount of trouble with hats on the SWF.  In 4 years of running Barudans we have only had downtime due to operator error.  That's it. 
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: mooseman on June 05, 2019, 02:18:25 PM
Take it from an ex SWF owner who looked at ZSK hard some years ago ....buy the Baurdan default to the Tajima..... bob's your uncle.
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: Doug B on June 05, 2019, 02:36:07 PM
  I have run both Barudan and Tajima and I must say I'm a bit partial to the Tajima. I'm doing a job today on one built in the '80s and still running like a champ. Do yourself a favor though and get more than one head. You will be glad you did later down the line.
Title: Re: Choosing ZSK, Barudan, or Tajima in Ohio. Please Help!!
Post by: Jwcontractscreen on June 08, 2019, 03:54:45 PM
I’m just below Cincinnati. Stop in and see me. We have Wilcom, an 8 head, 6 head, and 2 single heads. I sold my Tajima equipment and bought all Barudan. Don’t look at ZSK. I think the Tajima sales guy in Cincy is a total ass. He was always nasty to me and only talked bad about Barudan instead of focusing on answering my questions. He never could back up why they were better. The Barudan will sew caps 100% faster and larger than Tajima. We do 2-3 location caps all the time with no issues. We have a Barudan tech that tunes up once a year. He’s not too far away. We could share service time if needed. Seriously though, stop by and see our shop any time. We are 100% contract, you may decide to let us do some of your larger jobs and you keep all your small jobs in house. We have 3 auto presses to help you with printing too.

Justin Willman
M-F 7-3:30
859-795-5018 x 111
1850 Augustine Ave Suite C Covington, Ky 41014